How to tell if your symptoms are from COVID, a cold or the flu – CTV

Sept. 22, 2023

It’s fall again, bringing Canadians brightly coloured leaves, hot lattes, grey skies – and a whole lot more sniffling and coughing.

But if you think you’re coming down with something, how do you figure out if your symptoms are from the flu, the common cold, allergies or COVID-19?

The short answer? You can’t.

It’s very difficult to distinguish COVID-19 from other “baseline respiratory tract viruses that people would normally see at this point in the year,” based on symptoms alone, Dr. Zain Chagla told in a phone interview.

Three and a half years after COVID-19 spread across the world, the most common symptoms are still ones with a huge overlap with other respiratory illnesses, especially influenza: fever, cough, sore throat and fatigue, among others.

Some of COVID-19’s more unique symptoms, such as the loss of taste or smell, have also become less common as new variants took over – meaning it’s harder than ever to tell the difference.

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